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Brought to you by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab at: http://owl.english.purdue.edu Academic writing in American institutions is filled with rules that writers often don’t know how to follow. A working knowledge of these rules, however, is critically important; inadvertent mistakes can lead to charges of plagiarism or the unacknowledged use of somebody else’s words or ideas. While other cultures may not insist so heavily on documenting sources, American institutions do. A charge of plagiarism can have severe consequences, including expulsion from a university. This handout, which does not reflect any official university policy, is designed to help writers develop strategies for knowing how to avoid accidental plagiarism. Students will want to make sure that they are familiar with their school’s official academic dishonesty policy, available online, as well as any additional policies that their instructor has implemented. THE CONTRADICTIONS OF AMERICAN ACADEMIC WRITING Show you have done your research Appeal to experts and authorities Improve your English by mimicking what you hear and read Give credit where credit is due --BUT-Write something new and original Improve upon, or disagree with experts and authorities Use your own words, your own voice Make your own significant contribution
ACTIONS THAT MIGHT BE SEEN AS PLAGIARISM Buying, stealing, or borrowing a paper Hiring someone to write your paper Using the source too closely when paraphrasing Building on someone’s ideas without citation
Copying from another source without citing (on purpose or by accident) Deliberate Plagiarism Possibly Accidental Plagiarism
Since teachers and administrators may not distinguish between deliberate and accidental plagiarism, the heart of avoiding plagiarism is to make sure you give credit where it is due. This may be credit for something somebody said, write, emailed, drew, or implied.
your own conclusions about a subject When you are using “common knowledge”—folklore. letter. book. check your version with the original for content. shared information within your field of study or cultural group When you are compiling generally accepted facts When you are writing up your own experimental results Making Sure You Are Safe Action During the Writing Process Appearance and the Finished Product Proofread and check with your notes (or photocopies of sources) to make sure that anything taken from your notes is acknowledged in some combination of the ways listed below: o In-text citation o Footnotes o Bibliography o Quotation marks o Indirect quotations When researching. TV program. . or any other medium When you use information gained through interviewing another person When you copy the exact words or a “unique phrase” from somewhere When you reprint any diagrams. movie. computer program. and mistakenly borrowed phrases Begin your summary with a statement giving credit to the source: According to Jonathan Kozol. in quotation marks: … “savage inequalities” exist throughout our educational system (Kozol). and interviewing When paraphrasing and summarizing Mark everything that is someone else’s words with a big Q (for quote) or with big quotations marks Indicate in your notes which ideas are taken from sources (S) and which are your own insights (ME) Record all of the relevant documentation information in your notes First. advertisement. write your paraphrase and summary without looking at the original text. charts. common sense observations.Choosing When to Give Credit Need to Document When you are using or referring to somebody else’s words or ideas from a magazine. your own insights. newspaper. accuracy. and pictures When you use ideas that others have given you in conversations or over email No Need to Document When you are writing your own experiences. … Put any unique words or phrases that you cannot change. your own thoughts. so you rely on your memory Next. song. note-taking. illustrations. your own observations. Web page. or do not want to change.
and in your paper Rewrite the key ideas using different words and sentence structures than the original text Deciding if Something is “Common Knowledge” MATERIAL IS PROBABLY COMMON KNOWLEDGE IF… You find the same information undocumented in at least five other sources You think it is information that your readers will already know You think a person could easily find the information with general reference sources . and in your paper Select those direct quotes that make the most impact in your paper—too many direct quotes may lessen your credibility and interfere with your style Mention the person’s name either at the beginning of the quote. or at the end Double check to make sure that your words and sentence structures are different than the original text When quoting indirectly Keep the person’s name near the text in your notes.When quoting directly Keep the person’s name near the quote in your notes. or at the end Put quotation marks around the text that you are quoting Indicate added phrases in brackets ( [ ] ) and omitted text with ellipses (…) Mention the person’s name either at the beginning of the information. in the middle. or in the middle.
You have no other way of expressing the exact meaning of a text without using the original source verbatim. The quote you want to use is too long. 6. You are writing new insights about your own experiences. indicate if you would need to document (Y=Yes). explain how you would handle it. 7. so you use it. 8. Situation 1. why? (Adapted from Aaron) . 3. 2.Exercises for Practice Below are some situations in which writers need to decide whether or not they are running the risk of plagiarizing. You are using an editorial from your school’s newspaper with which you disagree. You really like the particular phrase somebody else made up. If you do need to give the source credit in some way. so you leave out a couple of phrases. If not. You mention that many people in your discipline belong to a certain organization. or if it is not necessary to provide quotation marks or a citation (N=No). In the Y/N column. Y/N If yes. 5. what do you do? If no. explain why. 4. You use some information from a source without ever quoting it directly. You want to begin your paper with a story that one of your classmates told about her experiences in Bosnia.
1993. 1994. 1990. Lester. and Christine B. and Dean Memering. James D.html to find the right person to call or email. Brown Essential Handbook for Writers. James A. sixth edition. Ilona. New York: HarperCollins. Understanding ESL Writers: A Guide for Teachers. available at: http://owl. NJ: Prentice Hall.english/purdue. New York: Norton. This page is located at http://owl. and Myron C. NH: Boynton/Cook. Walker. third edition.. Use of this site. New York: Norton. including printing and distributing our handouts. Feak. The Confident Writer. third edition. MI: University of Michigan Press.purdue. Writing: A College Handbook. New York: Norton.purdue. Howell. New York: HarperCollins. The following information must remain intact on every handout printed for distribution. . Lincoln. New York: Norton. Swales. 1993.. Writing Research Papers. Ann Arbor. 1992. Rodrigues. Englewood Cliffs. 1990. second edition. All rights reserved. John. Melissa.english. Jane E. Portsmouth. Academic Writing for Graduate Students. 1988. Tuman.W. 1994. and John E. constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.html To contact OWL. James F. 1996. Dawn.edu/lab/fairuse.html Copyright ©1995-2002 by OWL at Purdue University and Purdue University. Leki.edu/handouts/print/research/r_plagiar. please visit our contact information page at: http://owl. Heffernan.edu/lab/contact. Writing Research Papers. The Little. Constance J. Brief Handbook for Writers. Writing Essentials. third edition. Gefvert.english.Sources in creating this handout: Aaron.
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